Terrific Teachers – Bu Anne MacKelvie

Terrific teachers title pic

My journey with Indonesian language education over the last twenty-plus years has been touched by some amazing people whose passion for Indonesian language, culture and travel have really inspired me. Some are current practising teachers, some are not, their life paths are all different but they all have one thing in common and that is; a special love for Indonesia. I’m very grateful that they are willing to share their stories and connections to Indonesia right here on the blog.

Selamat berkenal dengan Bu Anne MacKelvie.

I hate to sound repetitive but Bu Anne is also one of those people that was meant to cross my path, we were definitely meant to meet one another. I can’t even remember when and where I met Bu Anne but it’s as if we have always known each other; both sharing passions for making learning Indonesian fun.  Also, when you both get in trouble for eating too much cake at a Professional Learning Seminar, that’s when you know you are from the same tribe! *P.S. Those cakes were so good, we couldn’t resist!

Bu Anne is totally inspiring when it comes to her creativity and imagination to lesson planning and activity ideas. We have worked on numerous projects together including; Link to Lingkungan Kita – Indonesian Language Resource for the Melbourne Zoo and also the Language Learning Space.

Anne Mac ELTF Indonesia 2011 Foto 1

Tell us a bit about yourself.

I have been teaching for over 30 years, yes, that means I am getting long in the tooth! Spent some time living in Spain. Love travelling but family has curtailed that somewhat in the last decade or so! Teach in Victoria but originally from Queensland. Been here now for 15 years. Still believe that September should be starting to warm up, even though it never does! In my spare time I am in a choir, a book club and I like to play my ukulele and make crafty things. I like people who are a little bit ‘gila’, like myself.

Why Indonesian? When and what got you started to learn bahasa Indonesia?

I fell into it! When I returned to work after having my babies, I was employed at a new school to teach the language. I was then told the language was Indonesian! I responded that I didn’t know a word, nor had I visited the country! Thank goodness the Department of Education offered free training. Did online training through Deakin University.

Anne Mac ELTF Indonesia 2011 Kintamani Foto 2

Why do you think Indonesian is so important for Australian students to learn?

Proximity! Many Australians visit this part of the world, and I imagine there would be lots of business opportunities for Aussies.

If we sat in your Indonesian Language classroom, what are 3 things we would see or do?

You would see me using close to 100% Indonesian, even with Preps. You would see silly things, such as a puppet tiger eating a child in my class! This week you would have seen five student ‘tigers’ running around the room, then falling over, then crying, all following Indonesian instructions while I filmed them! Hopefully, you would have also seen smiling faces and engagement!

Anne Mac ELTF Indonesia 2011 pic 4.jpg

What has been your toughest obstacle in Languages education? How did you get past it?

Having to teach Year 7s when I did not know a word of Indonesian! They were shooting pens into the ceiling and I was very stressed! The only lesson they enjoyed was one about Komodo dragons. I think the key is finding out what they are into, building a relationship with the students and being enthusiastic. (Knowing the language helps too!!)

What is your biggest achievement in life so far?

In teaching life or real life? In real life, living in Spain, learning Spanish and becoming proficient enough to translate at a professional level.

In teaching life, I get a great deal of satisfaction by watching my students blossom under TPRS (Teaching Proficiency through Storytelling).

What’s your favourite place in Indonesia? Why?

That question is difficult for me to answer as most of my time was spent in Bali. I did like the hot springs near Yogyakarta. I am not sure exactly where they were!

Anne Mac ELTF Indonesia 2011 pic 5.jpg

What’s your favourite Indonesian dish? And restaurant? {in Indonesia or in Australia}

I don’t have a favourite restaurant, my homestay in Bali always had amazingly fresh and delicious food! My favourite was made of pumpkin wrapped in a banana leaf. Yum! (I would love the recipe if anyone has it!)

If you were an Indonesian animal, what would you be? Why?

I would love to be a monyet. I would swing down and pull harimau’s tail just to annoy him! And I would have a great view from my canopy.

If you could wag school {or work} for a day, what would be on your list to do?

Wah! Too much to fit in a day! A massage, a day on the beach if I could teleport to QLD, reading (not work related!), de-fuzzing the legs, watching the latest episode of Suits, checking out Facebook, spending my hard-earned money on things I don’t need online and sleeping.

Check out Bu Anne’s blog here. It’s all about teaching Indonesian with TPRS.

Bu Anne also has her own YouTube Channel, ‘Indonesian Fun for Juniors!’, especially designed for lower primary aged children learning Indonesian. You can check it out here.

Thanks so much for sharing Bu Anne!


  1. Ruth Salzke says

    Thanks Julie for this piece. I feel so isolated at times and these really help. Great ideas to take and expand on for older students as well i. e getting Yr 6, 7 students to write raps using the target vocab.
    Thanks again.

    • indospired says

      Thanks Ruth! So glad to hear that you are enjoying the teacher interview series and that they are also helpful to you in regards to teaching/learning activity ideas. So nice to have feedback! 🙂

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